On average, an individual microwave oven uses 573 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity during its eight-year life. This is the same as saying that it consumes the same as a 7-watt LED bulb, which is left on continuously for almost nine years.
This figure is even more striking if we take into account that microwaves spend more than 90% of their life inactive, in standby mode.
As harmful as cars
According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Manchester they found that microwaves emit 7.7 million tons of carbon dioxide per year in the EU, which is equal to the annual emissions of 6.8 million cars.
Microwaves across the EU consume an estimated 9.4 terawatts per hour (TWh) of electricity each year.
The study also shows that the existing regulation will not be enough to reduce the environmental impact of microwaves. The researchers suggest that efforts to reduce consumption should focus on improving consumer awareness and behavior to use appliances more efficiently, as well as increasing the life of each unit.